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A Spamming Attorney Gets Sentenced To 40 Months 131

Posted by timothy
from the should-have-to-pay-rent dept.
www.sorehands.com writes "While one spammer, Robert Soloway, gets released on probation, the Feds send another, Robert Smoley, to the slammer for 40 months. I know about Smoley because I tracked him down, and beat him in court. Not only was he an attorney, he still has not lost his license, yet. The IRS contacted me as a result of seeing my web site, and I gladly assisted the IRS in tracking his business. He not only bounced a check on me, but stiffed his local counsel and one of his ISPs."
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A Spamming Attorney Gets Sentenced To 40 Months

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  • What is it about Roberts?

    And someone needs to teach the guy who wrote the website how to attach a .css

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just block "Robert S.*ol.*y".

  • by Kingrames (858416) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @02:18PM (#35398558)
    "...Attorney... sentenced..."

    Victory.
  • Not for spamming (Score:5, Informative)

    by HLJ76 (2007462) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @02:25PM (#35398624)

    According to the linked Miami Herald article, he got sentenced for running an online pharmacy, not for spamming. Big change in tone of the article. Spamming just lead to some one being annoyed enough at the guy to help the IRS track him down.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)

      Yeah, the headline on Slashdot would tend to elicit rightful cries of "Is spamming a 'crime' worthy of taking several percent of someone's entire life span?", while the real article would elicit rightful responses of "Okay, so the guy was found guilty of running a prescription drug sales scam online".

      Someone really needs to vet the sanity of articles before they make Slashdot, but after almost fifteen years, why start now?

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        I'd say that a big spam campaign should have the same penalty as a single murder. Deleting a single piece of spam takes only a few seconds on the average, but even after spam filters, you have hundreds of millions messages that do pass through. Collect that together and they can easily take out a whole life.

        Fake drug scams take out lives too, it is reasonable to assume a number of people affected will lose enough from their life expectancy to make a penalty equivalent to one for a murder fair.

        I think meas

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          So if you add up everyone who facepalmed after reading that post, the collected force would crush someone's skull, so clearly you should be going down for murder as well.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I'd say that a big spam campaign should have the same penalty as a single murder.

          Why don't you go and fuck yourself to death with a cactus?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @02:30PM (#35398672)

    I am conflicted.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @02:57PM (#35398918)

      Spamming attorney is doing it because he's the unethical shit breaking the law.

      IRS - collecting on behalf of Congress who can never ever live within their means - even when they use Hollywood bookkeeping to "balance" the budget.

      The attorney is the shit here.

      Any problems with the IRS you'd have to blame Congress for.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You should not be. One spamming attorney avoiding paying taxes to the tune of millions means everyone else gets to pay more taxes to make up the difference.

    • by sco08y (615665)

      I am conflicted.

      If the income tax were abolished and the IRS was disbanded, all the folks working there, not to mention the legions of people working in the tax preparation business, would make an immense contribution to society, instead of sifting through records and trying to satisfy the incoherent rulings of Congress.

      The spamming attorney is doing it because he's got nothing of real value that anyone wants.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And Ben Bernanke, et al, still walk free.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @02:55PM (#35398900)

    From Wikipedia, "Laurence A. Canter and Martha S. Siegel were partners in a husband-and-wife firm of lawyers who on April 12, 1994 posted the first massive commercial Usenet spam . . . Canter and Siegel were not the first Usenet spammers. The "Green Card" spam was, however, the first commercial Usenet spam, and its unrepentant authors are seen as having fired the starting gun for the legions of spammers that now occupy the Internet." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantor_and_Seagal [wikipedia.org]

    But this case seems to be more about wire fraud, than spam.

    But still, thanks a lot Cantor and Siegel! You should have patented it! "A Method and Process of Sending Unwanted Advertisements to Everyone on the Internet, Which They Don't Want, and Don't need."

    • When you wish to have patent trolls on spam, you don't get them.

    • But still, thanks a lot Cantor and Siegel! You should have patented it! "A Method and Process of Sending Unwanted Advertisements to Everyone on the Internet, Which They Don't Want, and Don't need."

      The PR industry [wikipedia.org] (c. early 1900s) is way ahead of them. And if Bernays had patented the technique, it would have expired long ago. Except for the Internet part. So you're right, they could have patented it. Except the patent would expire in 3 years. Unless someone could figure out a slight modification, or an iApp, that was worthy of another patent. Except that couldn't happen.

      Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need. -- Will Rogers

  • So some guy who sent out spam was convicted and jailed for something not related to his spam. Really he might as well have been ticketed for jaywalking, it would be just as useful in regards to the spamming epidemic. In the end this kind of crap will never make one iota of difference in global spam volumes or the problems that come from them.

    As long as there is money to be made from sending spam, spam will continue to be sent. The only way to end spam is to detach spammers from their revenue sources, period. This did not accomplish that so the spam will continue.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ever hear of Al Capone [wikipedia.org]? They got him on tax evasion.

      Last year, someone sent in a traffic ticket with a not guilty plea on it. The ticket had blood on it, and it led to a major drug bust [nytrafficticket.com]. Or a
      traffic stop for an open alchohol container lead to a
      heroin-trafficking arrest

      Many times, the investigation started as one thing, but led to others. From my read of the case docket is that the IRS was investigating Smoley for failing to file tax returns and Silverstein's web site and chat led them to the internet phar

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Is spam really an epidemic? We have simple means to block almost all spam, so that the average person probably sees maybe a dozen spam messages per year. If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

      • Is spam really an epidemic?

        Yes, it is

        We have simple means to block almost all spam

        But we pay a nontrivial cost for those filters. Even if you only use gmail for email, and you trust the "free" google filters, you are still paying for them. The cost is passed down to the consumer to pay for bandwidth, CPU time, storage space, and of course updates to filter rules.

        If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

        That is not a fair comparison and I'll tell you why.

        When we began inoculation against polio, we eventually wiped out the virus from the main population. The virus could not spread and could not infect (of course now it may be coming back but that is a different situation). The cost of polio dropped to almost nothing because in the developed world people no longer were infected by the virus.

        On the other hand, people all over the world are constantly paying the cost of spam. Just because they don't see (much of) it doesn't mean it no longer exists. Spam still consumes bandwidth, storage, and CPU time. And of course we need to also consider the false positive rate of spam filtering; the lost productivity and economic progress that we pay for as a result of legitimate email that is errantly thrown out as spam by filtering techniques. Those who believe in filters have to update their filters because the spammers are constantly finding new ways to get around them. Even if the average person sees very few spam emails in a year, it doesn't mean they don't have to pay for them.

        And the fact that so many people are oblivious to what spam costs them may in some ways be even worse.

        So in other words, yes. Spam is still very much an epidemic. It will cease to be an epidemic when spam is no longer sent; regardless of whether or not it is viewed.

        • by Seumas (6865)

          We have simple means to block almost all spam

          But we pay a nontrivial cost for those filters. Even if you only use gmail for email, and you trust the "free" google filters, you are still paying for them. The cost is passed down to the consumer to pay for bandwidth, CPU time, storage space, and of course updates to filter rules.

          We pay for inoculations as well. They aren't free and often are not paid for by the individual being inoculated. If you starve it out, the problem will go away and that is MUCH more feasible than targeting thousands of amorphous spammers around the globe (often in places where they are not reachable by any punitive means).

          If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

          That is not a fair comparison and I'll tell you why.

          When we began inoculation against polio, we eventually wiped out the virus from the main population. The virus could not spread and could not infect (of course now it may be coming back but that is a different situation). The cost of polio dropped to almost nothing because in the developed world people no longer were infected by the virus.

          On the other hand, people all over the world are constantly paying the cost of spam. Just because they don't see (much of) it doesn't mean it no longer exists. Spam still consumes bandwidth, storage, and CPU time. And of course we need to also consider the false positive rate of spam filtering; the lost productivity and economic progress that we pay for as a result of legitimate email that is errantly thrown out as spam by filtering techniques. Those who believe in filters have to update their filters because the spammers are constantly finding new ways to get around them. Even if the average person sees very few spam emails in a year, it doesn't mean they don't have to pay for them.

          And the fact that so many people are oblivious to what spam costs them may in some ways be even worse.

          So in other words, yes. Spam is still very much an epidemic. It will cease to be an epidemic when spam is no longer sent; regardless of whether or not it is viewed.

          I don't see a significant difference from the inoculation metaphor. Like a virus, spam only continues to "spread" if it continues to find purchase within a host. Or, rather, to be viewed a

          • We pay for inoculations as well. They aren't free and often are not paid for by the individual being inoculated.

            Actually there are many cases where your second statement is untrue. The direct cost of inoculation has plummeted due to several factors in the past few decades, such that individuals can afford the cost of some inoculations directly.

            If you starve it out, the problem will go away and that is MUCH more feasible than targeting thousands of amorphous spammers around the globe (often in places where they are not reachable by any punitive means).

            The problem is you cannot starve out the spam epidemic, if that is what you want to suggest. At least not by any filtering method. Filters will never end the spamming epidemic because the spammers will always find ways around them and other real costs of filtering will con

            • by Mashiara (5631)

              > rather than trying to stick some kid in pound-me-in-the-ass hard-core prison, for writing a script that spams a bunch of crap to a million accounts.

              Writing a script is not a problem, you can do what you want with your own resources, however it gets more complicated when you involve my resources (bandwidth + time) and resources I pay in part for (ISP staff handling the mail servers, the bandwidth my ISP needs to handle the torrent of spam in addition to legitimate traffick).

              This conviniently excludes th

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          So in other words, yes. Spam is still very much an epidemic. It will cease to be an epidemic when spam is no longer sent; regardless of whether or not it is viewed.

          Spam will disappear once mankind has transcended capitalism, there is a near infinite amount of resources to be shared around, and greed is no longer a meaningful concept.
          So I'm guessing not in my lifetime.

          • So in other words, yes. Spam is still very much an epidemic. It will cease to be an epidemic when spam is no longer sent; regardless of whether or not it is viewed.

            Spam will disappear once mankind has transcended capitalism, there is a near infinite amount of resources to be shared around, and greed is no longer a meaningful concept. So I'm guessing not in my lifetime.

            By that metric, it will likely never happen, being as we have lately been more inclined to move towards capitalism than away from it.

      • by sco08y (615665)

        Is spam really an epidemic? We have simple means to block almost all spam, so that the average person probably sees maybe a dozen spam messages per year. If everyone is inoculated against something, so nobody is thereby being infected with said virus, is it really still an "epidemic"?

        Part of living in the States is that we don't know what _real_ epidemics are, just like we don't know what _real_ poverty is like.

        A better analogy would be water quality, which may not be an epidemic, but is pretty damned close. If you go to a third world country, your body will build up a tolerance to the local water, after several rounds of diarrhea. But it's not real immunity, it's just your system constantly pouring on resources to fight the infection. You basically just get used to being sick.

        We've all

      • by Kosi (589267)

        Is spam really an epidemic?

        Even the most conservative estimations range around 80 percent of all emails being spam. So, yes, it is.

      • Compare that to my "throwaway" email through Hotmail which has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 unread spam messages which have evaded filtering. Obviously even a minimal amount of effort on my part could eliminate a great deal of the spam, but the point remains that there is a huge amount of it being sent around. Whether we delete it ourselves or have it filtered out for us it is an unnecessary and obnoxious burden that the network bears.
  • You bastard, now where am I gonna get my Viagra? There goes my prime tail.

  • I don't care who wins, as long as the battle is long and bloody. Pass the popcorn....
  • What an obnoxious and offensive footer his web site has. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth that makes it all feel like he's being turned into an Attorney himself.
  • Spammign is always bad, Internet pharmacys are a blessing.

    “The Smoley drug trafficking organization fed the habits of drug seekers while its members chose profits over the health and well-being of those customers,” said DEA special agent Anthony

    How does giving people meds they cant get cause they cant afford to go to the doctor hurt patients. Yes, some will overdose, Darwin takes care of that. People overdose on Ibuproifn all the time. As long as hes really shipping the medications requested I

    • by Mashiara (5631)

      And since "they" (internet "pharmacy") choose to ignore the rules about how to properly check the person doing to ordering actually 1. has prescription 2. is the person to whom the medicine has been prescribed you might want to think about what other rules they choose to ignore for their profits.

      For example: using reputable suppliers that actually deliver what it says on the box.

      Also since their customers are not acting exactly within the law themselves it's all too tempting to just send them whatever cheap

  • It seems he has a beef against Mattel for some reason, but after 15 minutes skimming through all I could find was stuff about how they tried to silence him and his demands for an apology. I never found what exactly he has against them.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The short form of his side of the story:

      His attempt to get professional medical help resulted in him being fired. He sued his employer and won. The lawsuit got nasty. Make that, "lawsuits".

      His employer was bought by a larger company, which was then bought by Mattel. Despite new lawyers, the lawsuits stayed nasty.

      He posted everything on his website. More lawsuits occurred.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    attorney can't get himself out of a 40 month conviction for spamming.

    find a new day job.

  • A member in good standing [floridabar.org] according to the Florida Bar. Which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Florida Bar..
  • Oh, so that's why I've been getting all those penis enlargement spam mails? The spammer is a lawyer, aka a big dick.

  • The "history of the lawsuit" page was interesting reading, but while reading I followed a link and was told in no uncertain terms that I was to leave the site immediately... I take it he won in the end?

  • but stiffed his local counsel

    I'd have thought an attorney would act as his own counsel.

  • Put an attorney AND a spammer in the clink, just makes my eyes all teary....

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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